ReBoot: The Guardian Code is a new series produced by Rainmaker Animation Inc and is being created by the newly appointed, Mainframe Division.
ReBoot: The Guardian Code follows the adventures of four human teenagers, Austin, Tamra, Parker, and Trey. Whose lives are upgraded when they discover they are next-gen Guardians - heroes that stream into cyberspace so they can defend humanity from deadly computer viruses and malware.
They are lead by V.E.R.A., a virtual evolutionary recombinant avatar that guides the new Guardians in their adventures in cyberspace.
On October 3, 2013, Rainmaker announced the development of a new ReBoot television series alongside the reintroduction of the Mainframe company brand for its small screen productions. Speaking to Canada.com later that month, Rainmaker's President and Chief Creative Officer Michael Hefferon stated the show wouldn't be the same as the "world of technology has changed drastically in the 20 years from when ReBoot first started" and cautioned that the original show's characters would likely be limited to cameo appearances. He then said the company planned to pitch the series in February, with the hope of getting YTV on board as the broadcast partner. Hefferon would later attempt to clarify his statements, saying that while the show would be primarily aimed at children, major characters from the original series would have more than just cameo appearances.
In November 2014, Rainmaker revealed the show would be called ReBoot: The Guardian Code. The following May, Deadline reported the series would be a live-action/CG-animated hybrid distributed by The Weinstein Company. On June 8, 2015, Corus Entertainment, owners of YTV, ordered a 26-episode first season, stating the series was created by Hefferon and confirming the details of the Deadline story. Shortly after, various characters from the original series, including Bob, Dot, Enzo, and Megabyte, were confirmed to appear in the series, though focus had shifted to a group of four teenagers recruited into protecting cyberspace by the Guardian program V.E.R.A. The four teens were named as Austin, Parker, Grey, and Tamra. A poster showcasing Austin in his guardian form was released. Commenting on the inclusion of live-action material in the series, Hefferon stated, "I talked with broadcasters around the world. The one [resounding] thing — and I hate to break it to the fans — was nobody wanted the reboot of what [the show originally] was. Nobody was willing to buy it." He later added that two-thirds of an average episode would be animated content. At the time, the series was penned for a late 2016/early 2017 launch.
Casting calls for the series went out in May 2016. They listed a shoot date between August and November of that year in Vancouver, with YTV attached as the broadcast partner and the episode count reduced to 20. Production was delayed with filming eventually taking place in British Columbia, Canada in February and March 2017.
Corus Entertainment officially announced that production was underway on March 28, 2017. The company confirmed the information revealed in the casting calls and shared that Larry Raskin would serve as showrunner and executive producer, Michael Hefferon as executive producer/producer, Matt Sheppo as the Production Executive for Corus, with co-executive producer Pat Williams acting as director and Michael Dowding attached as the supervising director of animation. The cast includes Ty Wood as Austin, Sydney Scotia as Tamra, Ajay Parikh-Friese as Parker, Gabriel Darku as Trey, and Hannah Vandenbygaart as V.E.R.A. Worldwide distribution, licensing, and merchandising rights had moved to Corus' Nelvana Enterprises with YTV set to debut the series in 2018. A mobile virtual reality experience and digital trading card game were confirmed to be in development. The first four production stills were released that day. Rainmaker's parent company Wow Unlimited Media reported that the first 8 episodes of the series had been delivered to broadcast partners in the third quarter of 2017, with the remaining 12 scheduled for the fourth quarter of that year.
On February 21, 2018, Nelvana announced that the first 10 episodes of the series would debut on Netflix globally (excluding Canada) on March 30. YTV would later begin airing the series in June. A trailer for the series and the virtual reality experience debuted later that day.
ReBoot: The Guardian Code is rendered in 4K resolution using Unreal Engine 4, which Rainmaker claims marks the first time the software has been used for television, after modeling, rigging and animation was handled in Autodesk Maya. Hefferon stated that using Unreal gave them an advantage in speed: "Some of these shots could have taken three to 13 hours in a traditional pipeline, per frame. The game engine, because of the GPU vs CPU rendering, allows us to render frames in seconds, some in real time, and maybe there are a few shots that take minutes per frame." It also easily allowed the crew to reuse animation assets for the virtual reality tie-in.
On February 21, 2018, an official trailer was released. The reception was overwhelmingly negative. A week later, the company began censoring the comments left on the trailer in an attempt to downplay the negative response. Similar tactics were used on the official Facebook page for the series. By March 10, 2018, the trailer had reached 12,000 dislikes and 983 likes.
On February 25, 2018, the French website Codelyoko.fr, a fansite for the TV show Code Lyoko, published a negative review of the trailer. The review implied that ReBoot: The Guardian Code was plagiarizing Code Lyoko, as the trailer showed many similarities to Code Lyoko's premise and characters (being about a group of teenagers entering a computerized world to fight digital monsters). Shamus Kelley for Den of Geek! also noticed the similarities, claiming that "ReBoot: The Guardian Code is going for the whole Code Lyoko thing" and added that "There isn't a single reference to the old series outside of the term Guardians. It feels more like a teen drama with elements from Code Lyoko and Super Human Samurai". Another concurring opinion came from Digital Spy writer Jon Anderton, who claimed that the original show "took place inside a computer system and there was no schoolkid element, making The Guardian Code more similar to 2000's series Code Lyoko (or Tron, to use a more mainstream example)". Shortly after the trailer's release, Code Lyoko co-creator Thomas Romain responded to the official ReBoot: The Guardian Code Twitter account, stating, "Wow you really liked Code Lyoko, didn’t you?
It has also been negatively received by how poorly it handles the original main characters like Dot and Enzo and how it ignores important events in the original series, like Hexidecimal's sacrifice. The show also fails to appeal to any demographic.